1. The Kingdom of God in both its Messianic and Heavenly aspects.
2. Eternal Life as an absolute need to enter the Kingdom of God.
3. Sin and Righteousness. The sinner, who is worthy of damnation receives God’s righteousness through faith and repentance. This righteousness is a free gift of God’s grace.
4. Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. Only He can save the sinner from sin’s penalty through His blood which He shed on the cross. The Resurrection is the sure evidence that Jesus is the true Saviour.
5. God the Father. Jesus came to reveal the love and character of God the Father.
6. The Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke much of the ministry of the Holy Spirit who would be sent after the ascension.
7. The Life to come. Jesus taught that there is a continuous existence in Heaven or Hell after death. Linked to this are all the aspects of His Second Coming at the end of the ages.
8. The Holy Spirit The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the Holy Spirit are mainly found in the Gospel according to John, though the other accounts do make mention of Him too.
Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a Person rather than a “thing” or a “force”. He is portrayed as a personal being and a member of the Godhead / Trinity. The Lord Jesus makes use of the personal pronouns “He, Himself, Him” when referring to the Spirit of God; “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and show it unto you.” (John 16:13-14)
In John 16:7 Jesus says, “I will send Him unto you.” It is Impossible for an “it” to intercede on Jesus’ behalf, but the Spirit is said to do just that, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26). The Lord Jesus promised to send a Comforter like unto Himself. This would not be possible if He believed the Holy Spirit to be an impersonal force. “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16).
In Matthew’s Gospel the Lord reveals that the Holy Spirit can be sinned against by blaspheming Him. Only a person can be offended or blasphemed; “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matthew 12:31). It is impossible to read these statements of the Lord Jesus Christ and fail to see that the Holy Spirit is a real person.
The Holy Spirit is more than a mere person, He is the third (and equal) member of the Trinity. That the Holy Spirit is actually God is beyond doubt in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. He describes the Holy Spirit as omnipresent and omnipotent in John 14:26; not only is He able to teach us all things regarding the Christ of Scripture, but He is able to do so regardless of how many believers there are and wherever they might be in both time and place. This thought is also seen in John 16:13-13, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot now bear them. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”
Genesis informs us that the Spirit of God played an active part in Creation. In line with this we hear the Lord Jesus saying, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth.” (John 6:63). He taught that the Holy Spirit is the Creator of both the physical and spiritual. Just as the Holy Spirit’s power is seen in Creation it is also seen in the salvation of a soul, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19).
While the Holy Spirit is coequal with both the Father and the Son He must be seen as a distinct person. Matthew 28:19 reveals Him to be equal yet distinct. The same can be seen in John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.” The three members of the Godhead are to be seen as a tri-unity / Trinity / coequal yet separate beings. As a separate being to the Father and the Son He is still united with them. Therefore, the Holy Spirit never acts alone, but in accordance with the will of the Godhead. He also does whatever the Father and the Son request, “Even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me … He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and show it unto you.” (John 15:26, 16:14).
The Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of each believer teaching and guiding them in the Word of God. His ministry as Comforter (one called alongside) is available to all who put their trust in Christ. Just as He is active in the hearts and lives of Christ’s body, He is also working amongst those who have not yet committed their lives to the
Lord. “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.” (John 16:8). He is sent to produce conviction in those who are in rebellion towards the Saviour. Those who respond to His voice are drawn towards the cross and find salvation in the blood of Christ. The new birth begins when the work of the Holy Spirit changes the unsaved soul into a child of God. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). This is the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus tells us, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scriptures hath said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-39). John explained, “But He spake this of the Spirit …”
The Lord Jesus Christ also informs us of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. “For John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5). This should be seen as the second work of the Holy Spirit on and in the life of a believer, (it may be better to say that it is a part of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit). This baptism in the Spirit is available to all believers of all ages. As well as imparting the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is the Spirit who empowers believers to preach the good news to the world. “After that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). “Behold, I send the promise of the Father upon you: but tarry ye here in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49). The same Holy Spirit that was in the Lord Jesus is said to be in all who believe.
The teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ offers clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is a real person, equal with the Father and the Son, obedient to the will of the Godhead. He calls sinners to repentance and the saints to a greater depth of service. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to live for Christ in our daily lives. He gives us the wisdom to live, think and to speak right. “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matthew 10:19). As Christians we have need for the quickening, strengthening, enabling and protecting power of the Spirit in our daily lives.
9. The Second Advent
The Lord Jesus Christ spoke more about the Second Advent (and details surrounding it) than on any other subject. For this reason it must be seen as a very important issue that affects every believer alive today.
“I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3). This verse is the foundational truth of the Second Coming of Christ in the Gospels. Regardless of the various theories concerning the “last days” we must believe and declare that Jesus is coming again or else we are forced to the conclusion that He has deceived us when He said, “I will come again”.
Those who believe must remain watchful and alert, ever ready for the return of Christ, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and be ye yourselves like men looking for their Lord, when he shall return from the marriage feast, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may straightway open unto him.” (Luke 12:35-36). Readiness is vital as we approach the day of the appearing of the Lord, “Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44). This means that we must not be worldly and find our lifestyles wrapped up in the things of this life. “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkedness and cares of this life; and so that day come upon you unawares.” (Luke 21:34). A terrible judgement will come upon this ungodly and Christ-rejecting world, but we must “watch and pray, that [we] may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36).
When the Lord Jesus comes again to set up His Millennial Kingdom, He will appear in all His majesty and power. At that time there will be a separation of those who follow Him from that who rebel. “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He shall sit upon the throne of His glory. And there shall be gathered all nations; and shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:31-32). His appearance will be so powerful and majestic that the nationals will cry out in agony and remorse. They will realise how foolish they have been to reject the One who died to take away their sins. “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
Jesus teaches that He will return to this earth bodily and visibly rather than by some secret / invisible return in the heavens. He directly warns us against those who teach that He has returned to some secret location. “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers: believe it not. For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:26-27). His coming again will be visible as He appears in the clouds with His angels. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27).
The Second Coming of Christ will be unannounced and without warning. In Revelation 16:15 Jesus says, “Behold, I come as a thief.” Matthew 24:37-39 explains in what conditions will prevail when He will return, “But as the days of Noah were, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be.” Many believers will be like the ten virgins of Jesus’ parable. These slept while waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom. They were unprepared and unconcerned. Like them many today are unable to discern the signs of the times. There will be those who will stir themselves in readiness for the Lord’s return. This is because someone is courageous enough to declare His coming, “At midnight the cry was made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” (Matthew 25:6). Those who awake and prepare themselves to meet the Lord are they who will have evidence of true faith. Jesus says, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
This brings us to the actual doctrine of the rapture. The rapture will occur prior to the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (this is seen in the Revelation). Believers must be ready at all times for this event. Though there may be certain prophecies that must be fulfilled before the rapture, Jesus makes it clear that all Christians of all ages must be in a state of readiness. “Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming he find you sleeping.” (Mark 13:34-36). In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus informs us, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh … Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13, 24:42-44). Those who are left behind at the return of Jesus Christ are those who refused to obey His word. “There shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left … I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.” (Matthew 24:40-41, Luke 17:34).
Though His coming will be unannounced, the Lord has promised that there will be signs to alert us to the fact that His return is near. These signs include False teaching, False prophets, False Messiahs, Wars, Famines, Incurable diseases, Signs in the heavens, and other world events (Matthew 24:1-8).
Our duty as we await the Second Advent is to watch and pray, and to be about all that the Lord has commissioned us to do. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world … And the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 28:19-20, 24:14).